Volunteers need help to restore Col. Davenport house

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Tour season at the Col. Davenport house is starting later than usual. That's because extreme weather and water damage harmed the 1833 building on Arsenal Island.

Now, volunteers need your help to restore the historic structure.

Dozens of Bettendorf students were stepping into the past on Thursday.

Judy Tumbleson, president of the Col. Davenport Historical Foundation, was taking them inside the house.

Home to Davenport's founding father, it was the place where he was murdered in 1845.

"They need a sense of how this community developed," she said.

Some say Davenport's ghost still haunts the place. These days, however, extreme weather is a bigger culprit.

These are the results of a wicked winter that left water damage. Braces are helping to support it temporarily.

"We need to investigate how far the damage goes," she said.

An ice jam allowed more water to seep into the walls. Since insurance won't cover the damage, volunteers are left with an uncertain tab.

"Sometime in the last 40 years, the boards began to rot away," she said.

Despite the challenges with time and weather, the Col Davenport house continues to endure. It's open for tours Thursdays through Sundays, from noon until 4.

Admission is $6 for adults. Children get in for free.

"You can see the actual construction of what the house was then," she said.

Tour season is starting about a month late. Volunteers need more money to repair damage. Every little bit helps.

To donate, check out the website for the Col. Davenport Historical Foundation.

As youngsters wind their way in and out of the house, it reinforces its role in a living history lesson.

"Absolutely," Tumbleson concluded. "We need this."

They need a chance to preserve this landmark for future generations.

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